Static electricity perhaps? Does it happen year around or only in cold, dry months?
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My CJ Premier 17LS2 was a holy terror as far as static was concerned. When I switched to an Aesthetix Calypso the static problems diminished to the vanishing point. The CJ tended to mute often when I touched it, and I got loud static pops whenever I touched anything else made of metal in the system, including the tone arm.
Gerbie, I tried EVERYTHING to solve the CJ's static electricity behavior. Two room humidifiers, static tinsel draped over everything (including wrapping it around the arm of a "dust bug" device), covering the W-W carpet in front of the system with small oriental rugs, stopping dead in front of the system for 10 seconds before touching anything. I could bring the problem to manageable proportions with this sort of thing, but frankly it still annoyed the hell out of me and I'm sure glad I replaced the preamp -- however good it sounded, and it did -- with the Calypso. Good luck.